For a number of reasons, it’s tough to predict what products and services will emerge to steal the thunder at CES each year. But it is safe to assume there'll be plenty of product improvements and innovations, especially at the margins. As usual, consumer electronics will get smaller, faster, clearer, lighter and more efficient. They’ll have increased capacity, longer runtime, higher resolution, better reliability and larger screens. They’ll also get less expensive. You might call it the “now goes to eleven” phenomenon.
But that’s only half the story. There are always products that are completely new or combine previously unrelated features in an innovative must-have device. These pioneering new products set the industry stage for the coming year and, viewed collectively, illustrate the overarching trends on the horizon.
The most significant products and trends are not always easy to spot during the show. Many of the changes are subtle yet have a big impact on price or mainstream adoptability. Other developments are not just hardware but include content, network and partnership components as well. A look back at the last few shows illustrates how the announcements and products at 2008 International CES foretell large shifts in the CE industry.